Flying the leeward hull

Seriously...madforsailing spoke to former Team Phillips crewman Paul Larsen about his new speed sailing project
Cat sailor Paul Larsen (right) with designer Malcolm Barnsley and his new creation As speed freaks go, Australian cat sailor Paul Larsen ranks in the top league. A former Team Philips crewman, Larsen ended up sailing round the world with Tony Bullimore on Team Legato in The Race and since then has been one of the regular crew on Cam Lewis' Team Adventure, which many view as the fastest of the Ollier twin-hulled giants. Most recently Larson discovered short handed offshore sailing, winning the 50ft class in the Transat Jacques Vabre with former Team Philips crewmate Alex Bennett. So what could possibly be a greater adrenalin rush for such a velocity junkie than a giant cat? The answer: a radical craft designed to demolish the outright World Speed Sailing record. At London Boat Show, Paul Larsen has been touting his latest project, designed by British naval architect Malcolm Barnsley. It would be hard to find someone better qualified than Larsen to be test pilot of this craft, but this is not just to his recent career sailing big cats. Larsen comes from Healesville in Victoria, Australia and grew up with Simon McKeon, now driver for Lindsay Cunningham's C-class catamarans and his outright record breaker, Yellow Pages Endeavour, which today holds the world speed sailing record of 46.58 knots, averaged over a measured half kilometre. He and McKeon used to create boats and blast them around a lake at the nearby dam. "We'd try a monohull and try to make it go faster and make it longer. Then we'd try a multihull and then go to proas. We made canting rigs - all that from some kids with a few lumps of balsa." Later he was exposed to Cunningham's incredible C-Class catamarans as they trialled off Melbourne's Sandy Point. "They have